Pipe Clamps: 1/2-inch or 3/4-inch

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by Aaron McCain posted 12-27-2010 09:46 AM 10902 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Aaron McCain's profile

Aaron McCain

125 posts in 2832 days

12-27-2010 09:46 AM

Is there a significant downside to a pipe clamp for a 1/2-inch diameter pipe? Or is it too flexible and a waste of material?

15 replies so far

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3003 days

#1 posted 12-27-2010 10:17 AM

The 3/4” is going to be less prone to bending under stress. Is it going to matter for the majority of your applications? Probably not. But you don’t want to be in the middle of that one big glueup and find out your pipe clamps are failing you. Better to just go with the 3/4”.

Also, in some places, black gas pipe in a 3/4” diameter seems easier to source than 1/2”.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View patron's profile


13603 posts in 3334 days

#2 posted 12-27-2010 10:26 AM

black pipe doesn’t ‘flake’ and jamb
the way galvanized does

3/4” is best
threaded both ends
and some connectors
to make them longer

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3767 days

#3 posted 12-27-2010 01:52 PM

I totally agree with Patron

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View bigike's profile


4052 posts in 3281 days

#4 posted 12-27-2010 02:17 PM

i like the 3/4” cuz its beefier than the 1/2” for one an two the way u thighten them to the work with a thick stationary handle is the second reason i havent wished it could move like the 1/2” yet but thats the only draw back i can see.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View b2rtch's profile


4861 posts in 3041 days

#5 posted 12-27-2010 02:19 PM

Buy heavy walls so that they do not flex so much

-- Bert

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2976 days

#6 posted 12-27-2010 04:08 PM

I have both 1/2” and 3/4” black pipe clamps. For material 3/4” or less, and lengths of 36” or less I use the 1/2” pipe clamps. For these type of applications these work well without any problems.
For material over 3/4” and longer lengths I use the 3/4” pipe clamps. The 3/4” pipe clamps also allow you to add extensions for much longer lengths. I like to use the 3/4” pipe clamps for cabinetry and other such large items.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View TheDane's profile (online now)


5423 posts in 3656 days

#7 posted 12-27-2010 04:26 PM

I have a boatload of 1/2” that I bought when Menards tore down one of their old Cashway stores a few years ago … wish I had 3/4” instead.

I’m taking WW classes at the local TC, and the shop there is outfitted with 3/4” black pipe clamps … they are vastly superior to my 1/2”. The 3/4” clamps don’t flex under pressure.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3052 days

#8 posted 12-27-2010 04:30 PM

Definitely 3/4” for stiffness. Even 3/4” flexes some, I would think that 1/2” would really flex on any longer pipe lengths. The only drawback to Black pipe is that it will leave black stains on some woods (oak in particular). It is a reaction with the iron and the tannin in the wood. The solution is to either come up with a strategy to either keep the wood from being in contact with the pipe (I use pieces of foam pipe insulation to slightly space the wood off of the pipe) while still being able to be clamped securely in the clamp jaws. Also, I noticed that Rockler has a pipe available that is coated/plated to prevent this problem from occurring. I don’t know how durable it is though. It seems like whatever the coating is, might wear off after a while sliding the clamp up and down the pipe.


-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View brianinpa's profile


1812 posts in 3716 days

#9 posted 12-27-2010 04:41 PM

There isn’t anything wrong with a 1/2” pipe clamp as long as you do not use it beyonds its capability. They work great on glueing up smaller projects, but I would not use them on a large glue up. They are lighter and easier to handle for smaller things like drawers that a 3/4” pipe clamp would be too heavy for.

-- Brian, Lebanon PA, If you aren’t having fun doing it, find something else to do.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3067 days

#10 posted 12-27-2010 04:53 PM

When I use my pipe clamps it is because I am looking for some serious clamping power. Otherwise, I grab other lighter and easier to use clamps.

Since the role of the pipe clamps in my shop is high clamping power, why would a bother with 1/2”?

I second all the points made by Patron above.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View patron's profile


13603 posts in 3334 days

#11 posted 12-27-2010 05:11 PM

another thing to be aware of
where the work is
in relation to the clamp thread
will bow your glue-up too

if the work is flat on the pipe
the offset pressure will bow it down to the pipe

if it is over the threads
it will bow it up
away from pipe

as the pads come off of 90 deg. slightly

in panel work for doors
we usually make some ‘sleepers’
that rise the work
so the center of the thread
and the center of the work
are the same

this keeps the work of of the pipes
and makes them easier to move under the work

and just snug them first
and come down from the top
with alternating clamps also
(in center too)
and tighten all together

use a straight edge to check work if it looks bowed
by ‘tweaking ’ alternate clamps
you can make things flat thru-out
and reuse all the sleepers again
(some tape on the tops of them
make it easier to clean of glue)

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3666 days

#12 posted 12-27-2010 05:32 PM

I am planning switching to 3/4’’ pipe clamp. I am getting to hate my cheap bar clamps.

View agallant's profile


551 posts in 2879 days

#13 posted 12-27-2010 08:59 PM

I have both and see no difference

View Bob A in NJ's profile

Bob A in NJ

1229 posts in 3992 days

#14 posted 12-27-2010 10:08 PM

I have both types. I think both are fine for most types of clamping. Now that I’m getting older the 3/4” seem to be getting heavier! The one thing I would caution about is not to get the cheap type that have non sharp teeth (Grizzly white ones) and “grip” into the pipe. I have 10 of the Grizzly ones and am planning on tossing them out as the grip is not good and the lever on them is very difficult to use.

Get the better orange ones (Jorgenson’s or Sears type)

Get the better types, that have 4-5 plates in them.

Don’t buy these

-- Bob A in NJ

View 1yeldud1's profile


301 posts in 3035 days

#15 posted 12-28-2010 12:31 AM

Bob A in NJ – would it be possible to take a triangle file and “sharpen up” the teeth on the grizzly white clamps to make the Bite the pipe ??? It may be worth a try before throwing them away

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics